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Washington Post columnist questioned on conflict-of-interest after disclosing son works for Biden

The issue arose after the columnist wrote a praise-filled article about Biden's campaign manager, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, in which, the writer disclosed that her son works on the former vice president's campaign

Updated: August 17, 2020 - 10:07am

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Karen Tumulty, a columnist at the Washington Post, was scrutinized Sunday for a disclosure in her most recent column – a complimentary profile of Joe Biden's campaign manager – that stated her adult son works for the Biden presidential campaign. 

In the third paragraph of the profile, Tumulty wrote Jennifer "O’Malley Dillon, 43, has been transforming what had been an underfinanced, undisciplined and dysfunctional Democratic primary operation into a general-election machine capable of carrying Biden through to the November election. (Disclosure: My adult son works for the Biden campaign.)"

When pressed on social media about the disclosure and questioned about the potential for a conflict-of-interest, Tumulty tweeted, "Fuller disclosure: My adult son has been working for the Biden campaign for a week as a research assistant. I have been covering politics for 40 years. Should I give up covering politics? Or tell my adult son not to pursue a career he wants? Would love advice from other parents."

Tumulty also maintained that her coverage of the Biden campaign over the last year has been "consistent" in both their "criticism" and "praise." Prior to her role as a columnist, Tumulty spent years as a reporter at the newspaper.

Former Politico reporter Meredith Shiner tweeted in defense of Tumulty, "honestly a research assistant is not an important or powerful enough position to give any sort of access or favor. Also if it’s oppo research, we all see it said out loud every day. And if it’s policy research, we all see what’s failing. Call us back when he’s running a campaign."